EFCC should probe corruption allegations against former Govs – Analyst

63

Ken Okolugbo, a public affairs analyst, has encouraged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate corruption charges made against previous governors.

Okolugbo, a former commissioner of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), made the statement on Channels Television’s Inside Sources with Laolu Akande on Friday.

He stated that the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry’s investigative report should be made public for Nigerians.

Okolugbo said there is a nexus between poverty and corruption. He said the anti-corruption fight is no longer business as usual citing the prosecution of ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, ex-Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, ex-Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello, ex-Kwara gov Abdulfatah Ahmed, ex-Anambra State governor Willie Obiano and others by the anti-graft agency under Ola Olukoyede.

Okolugbo also said beyond the prosecution of former government officials, the EFCC has been seen clamping down on Nigerians involved in currency speculation and racketeering.

He, however, urged the EFCC chairman to sanitise the anti-graft agency of bad eggs “as we can’t continue to suppress these cases through those bad eggs”.

He praised the corruption fight by the administration of President Bola Tinubu in the last one year, saying that the President has been vigorous in his war against corruption as declared when he assumed office.

Okolugbo said the corruption fight under the Tinubu administration has been more intense that the eight-year anti-graft campaign of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The public affairs analyst faulted the Buhari government for granting pardon to former governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye.

“I think that was one of the very lows of the Buhari government because they should have allowed Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye to serve out their terms,” Okolugbo said.

“In my state for example, (James) Ibori served out his term in the UK, he was not pardoned. I don’t think it is fair on Ibori what is happening to his colleagues most of them that had corruption cases.

“Why do I say this? Those cases, a lot of them were swept under the carpet and I think the new (EFCC) chairman would (revisit the cases), just like he has done with Kwara. Not all governors are corrupt but those ones that have facts and cases to answer and nothing was done about them, people look at it and they get emboldened. You must look at those cases fair and square.”

In April 2022, during the administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Council of State pardoned the two former governors and 157 other convicts following the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy. The two former governors were jailed for stealing N2.7bn in total.

Nyame was governor of Taraba State in North-East Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction in 2020. He was serving a 12-year jail term at the Kuje prison in Abuja when the Buhari government pardoned him in 2022.

Dariye was also the governor of Plateau State from 1999 to 2007. He was sentenced in 2018 to 10-year jail term for corruption charges before he was pardoned by the Buhari government.